On God’s will, clean energy and Chinese dietary plans

According to the 30 November issue of the American Geophysical Union’s Eos newspaper, which a spluttering, sneezing, Washingtonian pigeon has this dismal morning delivered to my abode in the mother country, in November there was held a US congressional hearing on climate change. The meeting divided predictably along party lines, but also featured a little substantive debate. Hard to fathom, maybe, but one should always be open to the odd pleasant surprise.

Take, for example, the following theological offering from Democrat Brian Baird, who chairs the Science and Technology Subcommittee on Energy and Environment…

“Recently, some of our colleagues and friends in Congress have suggested that we needn’t worry about this issue of climate change, because God has promised not to let anything happen to us. I would, however, suggest that we were given brains for a reason, and the role of this Committee on Science and Technology is to use those brains to evaluate the information before us as thoroughly and objectively as possible to take responsible action on that basis. Perhaps, just perhaps, that is how what God might want us to do, and that is how we are supposed to prevent cataclysmic events from occurring.”

Or how about a less prosaic and more direct contribution from Republican Bob Inglis, who represents South Carolina in the House of Representatives?

“Whether you think it’s all a bunch of hooey, what we’ve talked about in this committee, the Chinese don’t, and they plan to eat our lunch in the next century.”

So there you have it: clean energy makes good business sense, even if, as some senior American politicians appear to believe, humans have nothing to do with climate change. And, if by some slim chance they are in fact responsible for global warming, the gods will protect them as long as they keep the faith.